In George R.R. Martin’s best-selling book series “A Song of Ice and Fire”, normally referred to as “Game of Thrones”, one of the leading Houses have the motto “winter is coming”. For the shipping industry we may establish that the winter is already here.
But difficult times are nothing new for the international shipping industry. We have seen this before. So it may be tempting to think that this is just another round. I think that would be a mistake. I do not think the situation we are experiencing now is merely the same, but worse than anything we’ve seen in a generation. I also think it is different.
We have all gotten used to an enormous economical growth. We see a globalised world in which we all have gotten closer to each other. Economic growth and trade has reduced poverty and enhanced development.
But we also see a world out of balance. Our progress has had consequences we now need to solve. We have challenges screaming for better solutions. The western part of the world is not protected from what happens elsewhere. War, poverty and environmental challenges are not something that just happens to those far from us. These problems affect us all.
Businesses may not withdraw from reality. We need to sign up. We must understand the importance of long-term perspective. Yes, daily fluctuations in stock prices and quarterly reports will of course have the attention. But a healthy business cannot over time be governed by this alone. In the long run the world community’s ability to achieve the UN sustainability goals is even more important for industrial policy and the future of our businesses.
London School of Economics (LSE) recently published a study in which they looked into how the global economy will be affected by the climate crisis. In the “worst case scenario” LSE calculates a loss equivalent to 17 percent of total global financial assets. It would lay the world economy in ruins.
Fortunately a lot happens when it comes to fight climate change: Ideas from individuals, initiatives by individual countries, innovations from individual companies; small and large advances from all corners of the globe.
But overall we are still far more effective in our overall efforts to destroy the climate, than we are in our efforts to save it.
The truth is that climate change can destroy our livelihood, and we may only have a few, crucial years for us to reverse the trend.
The Paris summit took place in critical moment in human history. And I myself belong among the optimists. Not in the sense that I think the consensus in Paris solved the climate challenge for us, but because I hope and believe it gave the world the common platform we need to do the job.
A job we all have to do. In Grieg Star we have rolled up our sleeves.
Chair of Grieg Star